Lilygreen Photography | Burma Trip - 16th Feb - 2nd Mar 2018
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Burma Trip - 16th Feb - 2nd Mar 2018

February 14, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

Photo76Burma  

Link to all the photos

This photo is one my Dad took in WWII. He went to loads of places in the far east and Burma was one of them. I grew up looking at these pics and both Mum and I were enthralled, hearing about huge golden Buddhas and diamond studded pagodas. Eventually Mum and Dad went back, sadly just after Mum saw it she was taken ill and a few days later she died.

Anyway, one evening as we watched Joanna Lumley in India it got me thinking, I want to travel a bit more while I can. So I looked at trips to India and photography trips then low and behold I saw one Digital Photography Holidays that took in the Shwedagon Pagoda in Burma (Now Yangon) well it had to be done. My hubby doesn't want to come so I'm off. Roll on February 2018. 

I have scanned in Dad's photos and also my friend Ros's photos. Come to think about it Mum and Dad must have taken some pics, I know I have a postcard from them somewhere. It was in 1999 so pre digital!

I'm really looking forward to the trip but I have so many questions. It would be nice to have a Facebook Group where I could chat to others about the trip. 

So, it's the 14th February and we travel up to London on the 16th. Quite frankly I'm bricking it. Do I have the correct terminal, will everything fit into the meagre 7kg hand luggage allowance, will I forget anything important, WTAF do I do for a 12 hour flight? Where do I go when at Bangkok for the connecting flight? Will I get there OK? Will the mozzies eat me? Will I get a bad belly? Is that water filtration system from Mountain Warehouse really going to cut the mustard? Do I have enough clothes, too many clothes, the right sort? When I land at Bangkok is Rangoon an international flight or an internal  one. It may only be an hour but it turns out it's international. Still, as with most worrisome things I daresay it will be OK.  The mind is a powerful thing, the less I think of it the better right now. We have booked a hotel, The Park Inn by Radisson for the Friday night, £65 including breakfast. That way I can check in at 0900hrs (or just before) on Saturday. Probably hungover, indigestion but on time! 

 

Photos 17-19th Feb. Journey & Yangon

The Journey Out

So, finally took off about 12:25. Posh as fuck on this plane, a beautiful Thai girl doing the hand bow thing as you get on board. I have a window seat and all three seats to myself. Looking out now I can see some sort of coast, not sure where obviously apart from its the UK.

 

After you dropped me I shook and snivelled my way to zone A. There was a Thai airways info desk so I asked them what to do. They pointed me to the self service check in. A very nice young man asked if I was OK. I said no and he helped me, well he did it for me actually. Phew, still shaking. Then you had to go to bag drop off, short queue. Another nice young man helped me, I asked him what was next and he said to turn right and go to security. I was walking along, still trying not to cry!  Security was swift and painless. Needless to say I set the alarm off. That was it. I was into departure lounge, sent you an update, tried not to worry about you driving home.

 

I drew out £100 cash, bought a memory foam pillow thing, two for £18 or one for £13. I told them that was a rip off.  They had a Harrods  shop just selling watches, wow, the prices! I was looking at Kurt Geiger shoes, a lovely young girl complimented me on my hair, had I done it myself? Er  no! She said it's lovely, it goes with your rouged  cheeks! Wrong, that's heat, stress, menopause and hereditary red cheeks, damn them, at least she didn’t say I had Rosacea!! I had a wander, got a shed load of samples of Khiels cream and stuff off a nice lady. Bought more water. Started to go to the boarding gate then, 15 minutes walk! By the time I got to B44 I had forgotten the number, I turned right instead of left and it took me till B49 to realise, doh. Anyway, I had plenty of time. Boarding was swift and painless too. There were two tunnels to get onto the plane, I was so surprised when I entered the craft, all pink and purple. I'm second row in, three seats to myself. They give you a little pillow and a cwtchy blanky. We were waiting for ages to take off but it gave me a chance to calm down. No one queried the weight of my backpack. Soon as we were at altitude they came around with a drinks trolley, a packet of Pretzels and I had a wine. I went to pay her and she said "it's complimentary!" Well, happy days, I had a red wine. Each seat has a screen set in it, a USB hole, wonder can I charge my phone in there? Something is draining the battery so fast. I shall temporarily delete all unused apps and see if that helps.

I still don't know why I was so nervous in the lead up to this point. I was really surprised this morning when I woke up and I was shaking, I don't think it was wine based either. Still breakfast was nice, it did come as a shock that only one was included in the room price though. Hopefully the sausage sarnie kept you going.  It was horrible saying goodbye, the feelings of leaving you were overwhelming, as you guessed. I guess when you love someone, I mean really love them, then it's bound to happen. So therefore it can only be a good thing right? Anyway, this is up to date for now. My wine has gone, the entertainment system has technical problems and isn't working so I guess I will read my book you got me for Xmas.  Oh, more food is arriving! Laters x

 

Well, more wine! A meal, choice of spicy chicken, rice or beef. I had the chicken. Hot fresh bread roll, butter, cous cous maybe? Tasty whatever it was. Rice, tasty chicken. Mini water, cheese,crackers. I'm stuffed. I saved the water, cheese and crackers for later. 

I'm just looking at the movies choice, pages 1-7.  Not sure how to get off page 1. I've jabbed most of the buttons. Oh I have my phone charging from the USB too!

 

So, it's now 1816 hrs UK time.Time at destination Bangkok 0116hrs. Theoretically I should be asleep, except I'm not tired, I did take advantage of my three seats earlier and dozed for a bit, then it was bumpy so I had to sit up. We have had juice and a sarnie brought around. I stashed the sarnie though as I'm still full from the meal. I feel a bit like I want a sit down jobby but don't really want to on the plane.  I've deleted loads of apps on my mobile, tidied it up, charged it up from the seat! How cool is that? Can't get on the internet though. Not sure what I want to do, guess I'll have to read my book or watch a film. There are 4.30 hours till Bangkok. 

 

Yangon

So, what do you do at 0330hrs local time when you can't sleep. Write is as good as anything. 

So on the second flight I sat next to a journalist from Thailand, Kavi. He was Oxford educated, trained. He advised re money, food and water, very nice chap.  On landing I had to queue for ages for immigration, very surreal and formal. Collected my case ok. The pull up hand is knackered though. I changed 200 dollars into a pile of notes. 

There was a taxi outside for me, complete with air con and bottle of water. It took about 50 mins to get to the hotel. The traffic was horrendous. 3 lanes in either direction, long waits at lights, glad I wasn't navigating for you to drive!

I had my first glimpse of the Shweydagon Pagoda glittering in the distance and as we got near the hotel we drove past the entrance. A surreal experience, all these years of waiting. 

Hotel is posh. As I checked in, having gone through another scanning machine they come up with a drink. Stephen appeared and we had a quick chat. About water, money tipping etc I think. My body said it was 0330 hrs and past its bed time. 

The room is large and airy, huge bed, telly, table chairs, air con set to  freezing.  I couldn't see the way to turn it off. 

Amazing loo, three different bum washers! 

I did sleep for a few hours, showered and went down to meet the others. There are six of us in total, five ladies one man. I can't remember all their names yet. 

Had a G and T while Stephen went through everything. It was a lot to take in. Kit, types of photographs,  tips, plus answering questions from the others. We are pretty diverse in where we live, what we do, experience, age, outlook. I think it will be interesting. 

We ate in, I couldn't think what to have so copied Steve and had Thai red curry. It was nice.

I don't know how much mine was, I told them I'm rubbish with numbers and as bedtime Stephen said that he would sort it out and let us all know tomorrow. Much easier, that sort of thing is usually a boy job.

I sat for a while to finish another G&T and just chill out. 

We are meeting at 8.15 tomorrow, I read that as 8am as it's easier for me to work out the numbers. I reckon get up before 7am. 

I fell asleep quickly awoke after some weird dream that there was a bloke in the bathroom, he was in the bath and wouldn't go. He was wearing a cat nose and whiskers mask! He said it was because the hotel was full. I wasn't scared but was annoyed. I also remember dreaming I was back downstairs and I'd put my toothbrush in my bag instead of the camera, every time I tried to go to the room I was back in the same place, I even said to someone else in the dream, oh, it's one of those weird dreams. So, when I did wake up I had a drink, looked at my unaltered watch, thought I had at least  another hour in bed. Went back to sleep, woke up hours later ready to get up, why is it still dark? Probably cause it's only 2am. I found that a total head fuck. 

So here I am, 4.17am, wide awake. Ready for brekky. What to do? Oh the air con switch was right by the bathroom, it's off now. 

OK, I'd better send this now as it is now Tues 20th, I think!

Love you loads xx

 

So, our first proper day, I had breakfast, bacon, eggs, yoghurt, nuts. We met at 0815hrs and started to walk down to the old colonial part of town, it may have been early but it was already hot, bearable though. The roads are incredibly busy, all the time. As we crossed over the big road, luckily assisted by crossing lights, we came across a group of nuns. Nuns but not as you know them, these were all girls from about 5 to10. Thereabouts any way. All shaven heads, very smiley and shy. We all took lots of shots. From there we walked down one of the side streets, so many things to photo, down another street and into a small park, I photographed some pretty young girls and in return had to be photographed with them, I bet I look like a giant by the side of them!

 

It was getting seriously hot now 1030ish so some of us took a cab back and two of the girls walked back. I wanted to charge my batteries ready for the evening visit to the Shwaydagon pagoda. I had a snack of what was left from my plane stash of food, a nice cup of mint tea (so glad I brought my own tea bags) and then slept. Trouble is we had to be downstairs at 2pm and guess who was late again. They came to clean the room so I couldn’t have a pee, I had to go back for a card I’d left, I had a pee down stairs. I got told everyone was waiting for me. Tough shit - yes but I had just woken up, jet lagged and grumpy, plus it was only like 3 minutes at most.

 

We headed off in a mini bus and went to see the 40ft long reclining Buddha. It was ok. Big. Commercial.

 

Then onto some other Buddha. 

 

Then onto Shwaydagon. We went via the East gate, I think Mum and Dad would have gone by the West Gate maybe. This one was small, inconspicuous. We went up in a lift - barefoot was grim, it may have been on Marble but it was hard! We walked between two buddary bits and there it was, like Petra opening up only this was gold, shining glittering gold. Stephen walked with us to the Tuesday buddah(?) then we were on our own to walk around. Bliss. The first thing I did was find a spot nearby where I could just sit, out of the sun and take it all in. It wasn’t so much about the photos but the being there, after hearing about it all my life and having seen dads photos, also knowing that Mum had been so ill  when she went there, made it so special. It was like I was saying goodbye to them. This is something that I have to write down as I would choke up if I said it out loud. 

 

I took shedloads of photos, and then a few more just in case. I did a lap but couldn’t recognise the place that dad took his pics from. Once we all met up again the sun was going down so we congregated along with lots of others, put up the tripods and waited for the sun to go and the sky to change colour. More pics. Then I thought, shit, I should have a record of me being here, so as I was wirelessly remote I did a selfie or three. Not good but enough. Then I took some more with the mobile. Plus a bit of video. They were waiting for me again. Tough shit.

Going back down my feet were on fire, the others were dumping their stuff in their rooms and going around the corner to eat. I didn’t want to walk anymore, or faff about in Taxi so I stayed at the hotel. Had a lovely long hot shower and washed my hair then went to the dining room for food and a beer. The beer was lush, it was a buffet meal and I had to sit at some high bar thing, but the food was nice, I had three different types of fish, salmon, cod, and ? Various salads and bits. Not a huge meal. Unlike the bill. $45! 

Yangon to Bagan Photos

I went up then, packed, crawled into bed and slept till 2am. I was awake for a bit but went back off till 0445hrs. I was first down this time. We left bang on 0530hrs and went to Yangon airport. I had a protein bar and a cup of coffee. We went through security and I had to hand over my stash of three bottles of water. I was talking to the others and forgot to pick up my camera bag. Luckily it was still there 5 or so minutes after!

 

The flight was ok, I sat by Karin and we had a nice chat. I didn’t bother with the food they served, the flight was only an hour but they brought around drinks, food. Easyjet have a lot to learn!

On landing we all crowded onto the bus to drive oh, 100meters! The airport is a big shed type place. 

 

Bagan

Funny little town, full of character. Horses, carts, bullocks, various other bikes etc. It does have a camera shop though. We stopped for Nicole to buy a different tripos as she had been sold the wrong one in Singapore.

The hotel has grown over the years and our wing is two years old. Positively palatial.  We had to wait to check in as we arrived early so we went down to a lacquer workshop. Had a talk on how it’s made, really interesting. Each piece takes months because of the process, very labour intensive. I bought a small owl $20. 

 

Had lunch at 12 , Pennyroyal Salad, then a couple of hours to doze. I was nodding off when “housekeeping” knocked on the door to give me a flimsy newspaper. Not amused. 

 

Met everyone at 3pm and we went in horse carts to various Stupa things to take pics. Nice . There was one you could walk up inside but you had to take your shoes off and go upsteps. No thanks. 

The next place was nice, similar thingys. There were some nice paintings there of birds, I may get one. 

The 3rd place was where we were going for a sunset shot. We walked to this deserted building and were expected to not only take off our shoes again but do yet more steps. I asked Steven if it was compulsory, he said no so I went back to the hotel. Gave the driver, as primed, 2000 kyat (£2).

 

Ok. Although I had those money things written down I still got them wrong. When I kicked off last night! 10000 is about a fiver apparently.

 

I had a nice shower, did some washing, cup of mint tea, put my aching feet up. Bliss. I didn’t regret my decision for a minute. We met at 7pm. We have to select 15-20 images to form a cohesive panel about our trip. Pain, don’t want to. I will have to though, so maybe the ladies of Myanmar? Or hands or shapes, or textures or something. We went to another local restaurant for dinner. 

I had hot, sour chicken and one beer. When the bill came it was 56000 kyat. Someone said to round it up to 60000 and split it 6 ways, Nicola had worked hers out, paid and gone. They had wine, Tom had two big beers. So my small dish and small beer was going to cost me the same 10,000. Expensive for what it was. So I said what I thought. Stephen gave me 5000 back which was too much. However, I fail to see why I should subsidise everyone else’s food and drink. (Reading this back I realise I was being a dull egg over £2.50 is but when you have dyscalculia it may just as well have been lots)

 

It’s another 6am start tomorrow, sunrise shots somewhere. Hope I can sleep through. 

 

21st Feb Bagan - Sunrise, Monks - Photos


Today & Yesterday - Bagan

Barefoot, steep steps in the dark? No fucking way. I ain't that dedicated. We are in the middle of nowhere, I really didn’t fancy steep stairs, barefoot, in the dark, plus I didn’t think to bring a torch as I didn’t know where we were going, lucky I have one on the phone.

I slept better, apart from two messages clicking through. 

22nd Sunrise, Balloons. Photos

Yesterday was OK. Sparrow fart again, shoes off but at least it was paved. The monks were good, loads of photos to be had. Back for brekky by 0900hrs. Downloaded my photos. Figured out how to tidy up and rename the folders on the hard drive at last. It's a bit laborious. 

In the afternoon we went to, a temple. They went up again but I didn't. Rickety steps, barefoot, nah. I bought a picture thingy 5000. Outside I bought a lacquer box 10,000. Then onto another bigger temple, quite commercial with loads of people selling stuff. It was OK. I took some nice shots of a japanese girl. 

On then to a tump – old pottery factory(?) where we waited for the sun to go down. Tripods at the ready. Had fresh coconut off a family selling stuff 2000. It was lush. Photoed the sun going down. Bought a longiye(?) 

Straight to Bagan Town. Pics of a parasol shop and a lady weaving. Bought a scarf 10000. All these purchases left me short for dinner, had to borrow 15000. Talking to Vicky about numbers and I could be dyspraxic? Whatever. 

My arse has gone to sleep on this stone. Still pitch dark. The others are all set up on top. Loads of other togs coming in now. Not regretting staying here, just getting up so early! 

I got lots of sunrise shots, then around the other side were loads of balloons, lucky I saw them cos no one thought to tell me which direction they were going to up from, or the sun come to that. Guess I should have asked but it’s like if you separate yourself then you get a bit sidelined. I don’t do it deliberately but rather than say bunch up with tripods I will move away. 

I’ve realised I have a defensive side to me, why? 

Train and Road to Mandalay Photos

Guess you are out now? It's 2124hrs here and lights out shortly. I'm on duty at 0600hrs! We leave for a train ride at 0630. I'm packed all bar the essentials. More steps I refused today! Not sorry, apparently they were the steepest yet! And in the dark and without shoes. I did my own thing outside. I got shots I'm happy with and while it was better higher up it wasn't too shabby at my level either!

This afternoon we did temples. I played football with a small boy! Went onto a river, not impressed. We were back reasonably early. Had a gin fizz by the pool. Happy hour so 2 for 1. 3 dollars? I bought a long hangy thing with painted birds on. 13000 kyat, it's lush. Had food next door 10000kyat. That's cheap.

I do get my knickers in a knot when they talk money though, I hate having to ask for help.

Bagan to Mandalay

Mixed bag today. Early start. The train journey was lovely, I had some nice photos. Then we transferred to a mini bus. Stopped a few times to take pics. We set off at 0630 and got in at 1330.  The rooms are ok. Clean. Hotel is sort of utilitarian. I didn’t go out for the afternoon shoot. I slept instead. 

 

Went down about 7pm and had a salad and some gins. I asked for help with money, I felt a fool for asking and still managed to be confused. I must admit to crying and looking for flights home when I went up.  I really don’t know how to manage this money thing. 

24th Mandaly Market - Photos

25th U-Bien Bridge - Mandalay Photos


Hi babe. You won't be up as its 2am. We on the other hand have been out on a shoot at U-Bien Bridge, had brekky and now out for a full day shooting. Last night was OK ish. Still fighting a cold. Knackered. But I doubt I will be back. I would like to tho. If you did fancy it I now have contacts for drivers and flights. Trust me, you would not want to drive on these roads.

We are out at 9am and back late I guess.

We drove to a temple where nuns and monks were getting sworn in. Nice architecture. On then to marble cutters, very dusty. I took a few pics but got back in the van. 

Then to a place where there was a teak monastery, nuns, monks some by the river. The river must be so toxic as the banks were made of plastic bottles and plastic rubbish.

We had lunch by the same river that the bridge is on.

It was a bit rustic, the food was ok though. I had red Thai curry which was like a soup. If I could have got a taxi back to the hotel I would. I kept falling asleep. Early morning and cold fighting is taking its toll. 

We went onto a temple but I guarded the bus. Then onto curved Buddhas, then onto this place. Another temple. I'm sat outside with a cold drink. Oh, there was another place too, up a load of steps. Nice view but not much else. 

While I was sat here writing a local lady wanted her photo taken with me, so a series of selfies later she took her scarf off and gave it to me. 

The others were ages. When they came back it turns out they were sat on a terrace outside the temple in the grounds.

So glad to get back to the hotel. Quick shower and dinner. Two gins one tonic. Chicken salad. With Stephen, Mara, Tom, Karin. Felt like shit. Went up and did most of my packing. Managed to get everything charging. The sockets here are rubbish. Slept OK but kept waking up. The nights seem very long here. 

Felt better today (Monday) head hurty, throat rough but better. 

Road Trip to Lake Inle - Photos

Road Trip to Lake Inle

We were away by 7.30am. Sitting by Vicky today, she's lovely.

We had a stop at a cattle market. We were quite a novelty. Vicky and I had coffee with an old  man in a shack. Wander around the market and chat to people. Super pics. 

A road trip like this is long but good for reflection. Mainly about me. I confuse myself.

 

After cattle market we stopped at a temple festival. Rural and awesome. The places that the people live in are so poor. Bamboo wattle walls with roofs very small too. The road is twisty turny, not wide. 

 

We had a lunch stop at a rural location. I had chicken and soy bean. It was ok.  That plus an Aloe Vera drink cost 5000. We had one other brief stop at a market town and hit Lake Inle at what ever time I contacted you. The rooms are awesome. Balcony, lounge, mosquito tent. Had a quick shower then we all had dinner together I had 3 or 4 gins. Not drunk. Cost was a bit pricy. According to my calculations about £20. I’m running short of Kyats though. So that means I have spent close to 200 dollars! Don’t know if that is good or bad. 

Tonight was nice. We all chilled out.  The only trouble is here that The tv is in the lounge! What to do when I wake in the night?

27th - Lake Inle, Fishermen, Sunset

Lake Inle

Can't remember where I was up to. The journey to Lake Inle I believe. It was a long trip but stopping for lunch and photos helped. We arrived about 5.30pm. Free g&t. Tidy. Amazing hotel, eco travel. All being done with conservation in mind. The room is huge. Has its own lounge area, balcony looking onto the lake. There is a spa here. Quick shower and we met for dinner at the hotel. Pricy for what it was. It came to more than I had too so I put it to my roombill.

Slept. There's a cool mozzie net around the bed. I'd like one out in Turkey. 

Breakfast was smoked salmon, scrambled eggs, yoghurt, fruit. Small portions but very nice. 

0830 and we were walking down town, very dusty.

We were left to wander then. I changed 100 dollars. Looked in the market and took some pics. Very tired so came back and worked on my project. I found it easier to view and select pictures by linking the camera to the iPad.

 

Inle 1st afternoon

We met at 3.30 pm to go out in the boat. 4 in one boat, 3 in the other. Didn’t like it at all, not one little bit. The boats are long, low, flat and flop from side to side. We did have a life jacket. Non negotiable apparently. Why would anyone not want one?

There is a long channel down to the lake, every time a boat passes there is the wake to contend with, yuk. My arse is not meant to be that close to the water. We got to the lake and started photographing. Got a shedload of images, some more posed than others. Poor Karin, she tapped me on the shoulder to pass on a message and I jumped and told her to fuck off. I did apologise later!

We stayed till sundown, I was glad to get back. 

 

So, it's 22.23 here. I'm in this huge comfy bed and I have the whole day for meeeeee tomorrow. Bliss. They are meeting at 6am. Out all day on THAT boat. Two of the stops you get out of the boat onto a bank. I may miss houses on stilts and a floating market and a load of steps to a temple. However the thought of being out on that boat all day, nah. I could force myself to do it sure but why?

 

We went to a local restaurant for dinner. Stephen said was I going tomorrow, I said probably not, that today had caused a nervous poo.

Back to the hotel and I did my 5 images. They loved my brain shot – not! I said that was how I felt about numbers and when the world hates me.

28th - Lake Inle, Market Photos

Inle 2nd Day

I got up late, brekky about 0845. Just as they were clearing up. Leisurely stroll down town, bought another longye and a bag 15000. Earrings 10000.  I think. Took pics. Came back to the hotel, chilled. Lunch around the corner. Finished my project. Set it to ‘fancy’ music.

We met at 1830 and did the project. It went well.  We had dinner in the same restaurant, avocado salad, chicken, mojito. 10000. 

One more drink at the hotel, settled my bill 55,000. That was meal, drinks, laundry. Mare bless her helped me with the money.

While I think about it, she said the other day that the first impression of me was me saying “I was a grumpy person” and her thinking it odd. I guess it is. Just a defence, protective thing I think.

Vicki said the first thing she noticed was that I was rubbing my tum! She thought that was odd, it’s because I am so conscious of it.

Funny what People notice. 

Back to Yangon - Final Evening Photos

Back to Yangon

Anyway, our final day and time to get up. I have been awake for hours, something about 4.30am made a noise like someone tapping on the window, made me jump, I couldn’t go back to sleep tidy then. Straightforward trip back to Yangon from Heyho Airport.

 

Once back in Yangon we were free for the afternoon, I decided to walk to a big market I had seen advertised somewhere, all the way there risked my neck crossing the road and the place was closed! Bugger. I walked down carpet street (it sold carpets) and back up spec street. Nothing to buy as such so I went back to the hotel, Stephen gave a talk on converting to B&W in lightroom then we met at 5.30pm to walk down to a roof bar.


Final evening - 8.15pm and we are all done and dusted. Steven bought us a cocktail each on the roof bar of this tall building. Had a nice chat to Tom. After the bar we had a meal. It was OK. Cost 7000. Walked back to the hotel where we all said goodbye, hugged etc.

The Flight Home - 4 Pics

Yangon - Home

So had a shitty night sleep again. Woke at about 3 am and couldn’t get back off. Was down stairs for breakfast by 6.15. Their bacon always seems dried out and tasteless. The eggs were ok but no taste. Yoghurt and nuts. Thank goodness for my mint tea. 

Checked out and left the hotel at 7.50 pm. Had butterflies as we approached Yangon Airport. Where to go, what to do. Coping with a knackered suitcase. Screening first, just me not the suitcase. Then find the baggage desk. That was ok. They talk in broken English which while it is better than my broken Burmese doesn’t help at all. She was asking if I wanted to change my seat to Bangkok for a window seat. Frankly I couldn’t care less. Then some worker my side is pointing to labels and saying some thing. He was loud and scary so I backed away. I am a wuss but it was the best way to avoid confrontation. He was probably saying in, to him, very clear English, that this is your boarding pass or something. Anyway, the girly saw how it was and said something to him. I was quite flustered. 

Went upstairs to immigration where they wanted my passport and departure card, then she said some thing else, I was clueless so I gave her the lot, turns out she wanted the boarding pass. 

Once through there were a few gift shops and I did look for something for Abi. They did the following thing like they do in Turkey though and I felt like a thief. There was nothing particular there and my heart wasn’t in it. I just want to be on the Bangkok Heathrow flight now. Preferably with a row to myself and lots of sleep. The M4 isn’t looking very good snow wise, hope Stevo doesn’t take any risks.

I came into the departure gate lounge as I thought it would be quiet. There’s a bunch of kids here, just as unruly as back home. Not quite so noisy though. Actually I wish I had got a bottle of water before I came through, my throat feels rough.

I think checking in at the airports on my own has been the worst bit, not knowing where to go or what to do. Okay in the Uk but even if I ask for help this end I can’t understand what they say properly. No ones fault. I love the way that no one in Myanmar loses their temper, much. Apparently it’s considered bad form. No road rage, busy roads but everyone is polite. Although there is a lot of poverty it seems pretty clean, they are obsessed with sweeping. Mind there are a lot of plastic bottles around. There was no point me bringing that water filter system, didn’t use it. Or the sunscreen. One bottle of deet would have done.

It’s been an epic trip, good bits, bad bits. Seems a long time I have been away.  I would consider doing another as it has been good for me, I’ve been scared but survived. I’ve grown in confidence in some parts. My photography has improved, I have a shitload of amazing shots. I still don’t understand me though. Oh a water machine, right here too! Laters.

Shit, time has done its moving thing again, I was thinking ‘oh we will be boarding soon, where is the plane?’ However, there has been a time slip and we have gone backwards, it’s only 0840hrs! How did that happen? Surely it must be more than that? Nope, big hand is on the 8, little hand is on the 9. Did I get through security that quick? Guess I will read my book then. I haven’t had time all holidays to do so.  Ha, typical – I have packed the book in the suitcase.

Uneventful flight back, the flight to Heathrow was on a different, smaller, plane to that on the way out. No real leg room and buggered if I could sleep. Took pics as we flew over Islamabad and The Caspian Sea. Watched about 5 movies. Stevo made it up through the snow – what a man. One slippery bit on the M4, worse in patches, the worst bit was parking outside our house. We got in about 1230am.

That is that. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat. I wouldn’t be such a wuss next time though!

 

 

 

 


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